How to Bathe a Cat That Hates Water

brown cat covered with white towel
Photo by Dan Wayman on Unsplash

Cats, with their independence and aloofness, can be notoriously difficult to bathe. Add to that the fact that cats generally don’t like water and you may have a real challenge on your hands. If you have a cat that hates water, you may be wondering how on earth you can ever get it clean. While it may not be easy, there are steps you can take to make the process as stress-free and successful as possible. Here are some tips on how to bathe a cat that hates water.

two wet kittens
Photo by Rebecca Campbell on Unsplash
  1. Prepare the bathroom. Before you attempt to bathe your cat, make sure the bathroom is ready. This means ensuring the temperature of the room is comfortable, cleaning the tub or sink, and laying down a mat or towel to prevent your cat from slipping. You’ll also want to have all the necessary supplies ready, such as shampoo, towels, and a cup or pitcher for wetting your cat.
  2. Acclimate your cat to water. If your cat is not used to being around water, it will be even more difficult to bathe them. Start by introducing them to water gradually. Set up a shallow pool or basin in your bathroom and let your cat investigate it. You can also place a few toys in the water to encourage play.
  3. Choose the right shampoo. When selecting a shampoo for your cat, make sure it’s specifically formulated for cats. Human shampoos can be too harsh and even cause skin irritation. You may also want to consider a shampoo that is specifically designed to help make cats less averse to water.
  4. Start slowly. Don’t expect your cat to be okay with a full bath right away. Start by wetting their feet and legs with a cup or pitcher of warm water. Talk to your cat in a soothing tone and reward them with treats to help make the experience more positive. Once they’re comfortable with this, you can move on to wetting the rest of their body.
  5. Use a shower sprayer. If your cat still isn’t comfortable with being in the water, you can use a shower sprayer to wet them down. This may be less intimidating for your cat and can help you control the amount of water that comes into contact with them.
  6. Massage in the shampoo. Once your cat is wet, you can apply the shampoo. Massage the shampoo into their fur and make sure to avoid their eyes, ears, and nose. Once you’re done, rinse your cat thoroughly with warm water.
  7. Dry your cat. Once your cat is clean, it’s important to dry them off as quickly as possible. Use a towel or hairdryer (on the lowest setting) to dry them. Make sure your cat is completely dry before letting them go.
white cat sleeping in yellow textile
Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

Bathing a cat that hates water can be a difficult and stressful task, but it’s not impossible. With patience and perseverance, you can successfully bathe your cat. Just make sure to take it slowly and be prepared for some resistance.

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